Volume Sixteen
July 2007

Gaining An Understanding Of The Physical Principles
That Are The Basis of Bioelectric Medicine

W. L. Shimmin


Myths are strong. The myths of modern physics are no exception. As smart as they are, the practitioners cannot see beyond their deep brainwashing. Some oddball physicists and even some interested laymen are aware of this. What follows is one dissident physicist's view of fundamentals of electrodynamics, gravitation, and related matters.


There are two fundamental phenomena of the world that have a relatively long history of observing, experimenting, and theorizing: gravity and electromagnetism. It is difficult to perform precision experiments here on earth to elucidate the workings of gravity, but the astronomers have, over the centuries, provided ever more precise measurements of the observed motions of the objects in our solar system. These measurements form the background and basis for our best theories of gravity.

For excellent reasons and for most of the scientific era Isaac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation has been the gold standard of gravitational theory. Following pioneering work of numerous other contributors, Johannes Kepler being probably the chief, Newton hypothesized that there is a universal force of attraction between any two massive bodies inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers and directly proportional to the mass of each body.

Newton may or may not have been aware of the fact that, mathematically, the law assumes instantaneous transmission of gravitational forces. Eventually physicists became aware that such a thing is generally not observed in nature and intuitively seems unrealistic. Surprisingly perhaps, using Newton’s law and assuming instantaneous transmission gives excellent agreement with practically every measured motion of bodies in the solar system. When finite transmission time was incorporated into Newton’s law, the results did not fit well with the observed motion of the planets.

Electrostatics, the behavior of charged bodies, grew from humble beginnings to a precise science due to the careful experimental work of many contributors. Charles Augustin Coulomb is given credit for his description of electrostatic forces. Coulomb’s law states that two like-charged bodies repel each other with a force inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers and directly proportional to the charge on each body. Two oppositely charged bodies attract each other in the same manner. While direct measurements in the laboratory are limited in precision, indirect methods have shown that Coulomb’s law is correct to a very high precision.

An understanding of magnetism developed in parallel with the understanding of electrostatics. This led to the knowledge that magnetic fields are produced by electric currents, or ultimately, that magnetic fields are produced by electric charges in motion.

While many workers contributed to the development of a theory uniting electricity and magnetism, James Clerk Maxwell provided the set of equations that are the gold standard of the science of electromagnetism. Maxwell’s equations purport to express the exact relationship between electric phenomena and magnetic phenomena as well as providing a mathematical framework for expressing the phenomenon of radiation. It remained for Heinrich Hertz to demonstrate in the laboratory that radiation is indeed an electromagnetic phenomenon.

I purposely did not write down Maxwell’s equations, nor did I try to express in words what they mean. They are opaque, and they are wrong. Maxwell created a ‘theory’ that assumes that the net electric fields and net magnetic fields in space and time are sufficient to describe all electromagnetic phenomena. Unfortunately, using Maxwell’s ‘theory’ as a starting point it is impossible to arrive at a deeper understanding of electric and magnetic fields and the medium of propagation of electromagnetic waves. Several workers attempted to elucidate a theory of the medium (known as the aether) without success. Numerous attempts were also made to measure the motion of the planet through the medium, likewise without success.

A number of bogus theories were created afterward in an attempt to work around various problems with the existing theories of electromagnetism and also gravity. The main examples are the Special Theory of Relativity, the General Theory of Relativity, then Quantum Mechanics, which tried to wrestle with the problems of atomic physics.

There is one noteworthy exception. In 1900 Hendrik Lorentz published a paper concerning gravity. He had learned of speculations about gravity by the Italian physicist, Mossotti. A couple of German physicists had taken up Mossotti’s ideas, and Lorentz refined them. The basic notion is that gravity might be the result of a slight imbalance in electric forces. Lorentz had already succeeded in showing that Maxwell’s equations would work assuming that all matter consists of positive and negative charged particles. We now know that in fact atoms consist of positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons.

Again, like charges repel, and unlike charges attract. Up to this point physicists assumed that the force of attraction between two unlike charges was exactly equal to the force of repulsion between two like charges with the same charge. Lorentz, following Mossotti, looked at the consequences of assuming the force of attraction between two unlike charges is very slightly greater than the force of repulsion between two like charges. Ordinary matter consists of an enormous number of charged particles in equal numbers. Lorentz showed that in such a case the net result is a small residual force of attraction between all massive objects. The difference in force between like pairs and unlike pairs is so small that the difference only shows up in the 39th decimal place. This means that no direct experiments could ever be accurate enough to discern the difference.

Lorentz replaced Newton’s law of gravitation with two sets of Maxwell equations, one set for the repulsive forces and one set for the attractive forces. When he boils it down, what he arrives at is an equation for gravity that look approximately like Newton’s law, but it has extra terms expressing the ‘magnetic’ part of the interaction that is missing from Newton’s law. What it means to us is that the gravitational interactions are modified by the motion of the massive bodies. There is the motion with respect to each other and also the motion with respect to the medium (the aether). Lorentz shows that the first-order corrections cancel out, leaving only second-order corrections. This then explains why Newton’s law works so well. After all, it is in practice identical to the Coulomb law of electrostatics.

Lorentz doesn’t stop there. He goes on to calculate what would happen to the orbit of Mercury around the Sun if one includes the correction terms. He already knows how fast Mercury is moving around the Sun, but he has to guess a number for the speed of the solar system through the aether. Since he doesn’t know anything better, he chooses the motion of the solar system with respect to the local group of stars (approximately 16km/s). The result is a tiny modification of the orbit of Mercury, in fact quite a bit smaller than what is actually observed. Modestly, Lorentz ends by saying that the equations might not be exactly the correct ones, but that at least he was able to demonstrate that a finite propagation speed for gravity (in this case the speed of light) is not necessarily in conflict with the observed motion of the solar system.

I feel fairly confident that Lorentz hit on the correct idea of gravitation, namely, that gravity is not a separate force, not something weird or exotic, but quite simply a tiny imbalance in electric forces. It’s a little sad that Einstein and numerous others spent decades searching for a unified field theory, when Lorentz had evidently seen the answer back in 1900.

If for the moment we do not doubt Lorentz’s use of Maxwell’s equations to arrive at a complete set of gravity equations, we can use Lorentz’s result and insert a much bigger speed for the motion of the solar system through the aether. For example, if we use the speed consistent with the observed motion of the solar system with respect to the microwave background radiation, namely, around 300 km/s, we find that Lorentz’s equations give a result within a factor of two of the observed advance of the perihelion of the orbit of Mercury. Not bad!

Returning to the problems with electromagnetic theory and Maxwell’s equations, we are taught in school that every charged particle has an electric field of infinite extent that falls off in strength inversely as the square of the distance from the particle. We are taught that if we wish to know the net electric field at some location in space, we should simply do a vector addition of the field contribution of all the charged particles in the neighborhood. If we add one more charged particle, the net field changes accordingly. But then, as per Maxwell, we are never taught to consider the relevance of the presence of all these overlaid electric fields. In existing theory the only thing that can matter is the net field at any location.

In fact, the underlying electric field contributions do matter. It is this that forms the aether, or medium of propagation of electromagnetic waves. Picture that at any location in the universe there is a contribution, no matter how small, from every charged particle in the universe. This overlay of electric field contributions is the medium. It remains to determine how it works. Roughly, if a single charged particle moves with respect to this overlay of fields, then its own electric field must move with it. But it cannot do this instantaneously out to the farthest reaches of space. In fact, the adjustment of the field of a charged particle that has moved over is ‘telegraphed’ outward at the characteristic speed of the medium, namely, the speed of light. It’s as though the electric field of the moving particle were ‘dragging’ just a bit as it slides through the overlay of all the other fields.

What we call electromagnetic radiation goes as follows. If I jiggle a charged particle, then its electric field will try to continuously adjust its location, and thus, jiggle also. And that is exactly what I will observe at a remote location, merely delayed according to the speed of propagation, i.e., the speed of light.

It remains to include magnetism in this picture. It would seem that magnetism is not a separate force, but simply a minor correction in the details of the interaction of a moving electric field with the aether, or overlay of all other electric fields. So-called magnetic forces are so tiny compared with electric forces, that we would never notice them except in cases where the raw electric forces are more or less completely balanced. That is the case, for example, with a current flowing in a wire: the positive and negative charges are balanced (i.e., in equal numbers), but only the negative charges are moving.

Some smart person with a clear mind ought to be able to figure out the exact interaction of moving electric fields and the aether. What we call magnetism, i.e., magnetic forces and fields, provides a major clue.


What is observed in the laboratory in a vacuum and in the observed universe is that the speed of propagation of electromagnetic radiation is nearly constant. Directly observed deviations are miniscule. For example, when light from a star passes close to the sun, there is a tiny slowing such that we see a small deviation in the apparent location of the star. It amounts to a kind of refraction or so-called bending of the wavefront. This implies that the characteristic speed of the medium depends, to a small degree, on the nearness of lots of matter. Another way of saying this is that the characteristic speed is some function of the ‘strength’ of the overlay of electric fields. Given that the characteristic speed is nearly a constant, the implication is that individual electric field contributions are weighted by an inverse distance relationship, at least as regards the characteristic speed. In principle, concentrations of matter denser than our sun would cause even more slowing of the passing light. However, it is simply not good physics practice to extrapolate by several orders of magnitude of density and claim that a situation could arise where the waves would be slowed to zero. This is nonsense; there is simply no such thing as black holes.


Under certain conditions shining light on a solid surface results in electrons being ejected from the surface. This is known as the photoelectric effect. Physicists struggled to understand the peculiarities of the experimental results of the effect. Einstein came to the rescue with an explanation that fit the observations. The incoming light was modeled as a plane wave of coherent light. A key argument was that the energy in the plane wave is finely dispersed and that, therefore, it would be impossible for there to be sufficient energy in the wavefront at the immediate location of the electron to impart a large amount of kinetic energy ‘instantaneously.’ Part of Einstein’s explanation included the notion that, although light propagates as waves, it interacts with matter as though it was in more concentrated ‘clumps’ of energy, later named photons. While I cannot give an exact description of the process of electromagnetic radiation interacting with atoms on the surface of a solid, I feel safe in claiming that Einstein’s ad hoc explanation is bogus. For starters, incoherent light is not at all like single-frequency coherent light. It’s very choppy with occasional large spikes in electric field strength. Furthermore, when a charged particle experiences a net electric field, it accelerates according to Coulomb’s law. Someone would first have to show that Coulomb’s law is not universal. There is never a question of where the energy is going to come from. Finally, in the world of Maxwell’s equations where only the net fields can possibly matter there is a relative paucity of field energy. But in the real world of overlaid fields there is an enormous amount of field energy present at every point in space. Sorry Einstein, no photons. Electromagnetic radiation is purely a wave phenomenon.


Most physicists reading the forgoing will be dismissive, amused, angry, surprised, or some combination of these. Most physicists are convinced that they have been taught the right explanations and that, therefore, anything that flies in the face of what they believe is not to be taken seriously. Everyone has a brain. Everyone can think for themselves if they only will. Everyone should deeply doubt everything that they've been taught as the truth during and since their childhood. Finally, the forgoing itself is only one person's view and can likewise be subject to error.


The Journal of Bioelectromagnetic Medicine